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SARGON II 
. CHESS 

One of the most sophisticated com- 
puter chess programs ever written! 
Turns your ViC-20 into a challeng- 
ing chess partner with 7 play levels, 
ard setup and color options. 




WORKS WITH KEYBOARD OR JOYSTICK! 



. : : - 



£z commodore 

COMPUTER 



VIC20 

The friendly computer 




USER'SGUIDE 

TO THE 
VIC VERSION 
OF SARGON II 



Ct commodore 

v COMPUTER 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Introduction 1 

Getting Started 1 

Adjusting Screen Position , 2 

Eliminating Screen "Flutter" 2 

Changing Game Colors , 2 

Starting And Ending The Game , 3 

Starting A New Game 3 

Screen Display 4 

Moving Pieces Using Joystick. , 5 

Moving Pieces Using The Keyboard 5 

Special Moves , 7 

What The Sound Effects Mean , 7 

Hint Mode For Beginners — SARGON "Kibitz" 8 

Level # And Ply #........ 8 

To End A Game Or Take Back A Move 9 

If You Have Chosen To Change The 

Board (Setup) 9 

TEACH YOURSELF CHESS 11 

Your First Game Of Chess 12 

Object Of The Game 12 

Capturing Your Opponent's Players 12 

Each Chess Piece Has Unique Movements 13 

Each Chess Piece Has A "Rank" Of 

Power Or Importance 13 

How The Pieces Move — A Beginners 

Reference Guide 1 3 

Your First Game . . . Learn By Doing 18 

Here Are The Moves You Should Make 

In Order < 18 

^Copyright 1 982 by Hayden Publishing Company, Commodore Business 
Machines, Inc. No part of this manual may be copied, photocopied 

published or otherwise reproduced without the written permission of 
Commodore. 



INTRODUCTION 

Chess is one of the world's oldest and perhaps most popular 
games. The strategy behind chess is not unlike making war 
against a kingdom. Pawns, knights, queens and kings battle 
against each other-two opposing forces-white and black pieces 
move on a checkerboard battlefield. If you want to know more 
about chess we suggest you check your bookstore for one of the 
many books on the subject. 

In the interest of ever-better computer chess, Commodore is 
proud to present SARGON ll-the world's most popular computer 
chess program. The actual playing algorithm for the chess game 
has been improved with the result that Sargon II plays a superior 
game, and at a quicker speed than most other computer chess 
games. During the player's move, the level of play to which the 
game has been set is displayed. During the computer's move 
the ply number (How far ahead the computer is "thinking") is 
displayed. For those who are new to chess, the ply number will be 
explained in detail later. 

Since at higher levels of play, the time between moves can be 
considerable, a flashing asterisk is displayed to indicate that the 
computer is "thinking". For those players who need help every 
once and a while, a special hint mode has been included that will 
suggest a good (but not necessarily the best) move that you can 
make. Finally, SARGON II allows you to analyze any chess 
problem. 



GETTING STARTED 

1 . Turn off the power to the VIC. 

2. Insert the cartridge into the wide expansion socket at the back 
of the VIC, with the nameplate facing UP. 

3 Turn on the VIC. You should see 'SARGON II' on the screen. 



ADJUSTING SCREEN POSITION 

After inserting the SARGON II cartridge and turning on your VIC, 
the title page will be displayed. At this point you may adjust your 
screen setting and the color combination. (Note: Once the game 
has begun you can not change the screen colors). 

TO ADJUST SCREEN - HORIZONTAL use the cursor 

right key. 
— VERTICAL use the cursor 

down key. 



ELIMINATING SCREEN "FLUTTER" 

On some types of television sets your screen may "flutter" up and 
down when using a computer or video game. To correct this, hold 
down the SH I FT key and hit the yellow f7 key. (Note that doing this 
with a standard TV set may cause screen flutter). 



CHANGING GAME COLORS 

When the game comes on the COLORS are blue and white .... 
But Commodore's Sargon II chess cartridge lets you choose the 
color of the chessboard and chesspieces. More than 50 com- 
binations are possible but we recommend blue and black, green 
and black, or blue and white. 

1. TO ADJUST COLOR — Press function key 3 (function keys 

are the yellow keys on the right edge 
of the keyboard). 

2. TO ADJUST BORDER COLOR - Press function key 5. 



STARTING AND ENDING THE GAME 

1. TO START GAME — Press function key 1 

2. TO END GAME — Hold down the "RUN/STOP" key and type 

the"RESTORE" key at the same 
time. 



STARTING A NEW GAME 

SARGON II has two modes to choose from, which allow you to 
either play a game from the beginning or set up a board position 
from which to play. 

1. After you hit the f1 key, SARGON asks if you want to play a 
game or set up a position. SARGON displays: 

GAME OR SET UP (G, S): 

Answer G if you want to Start a new game. 

2. SARGON will now ask you: 

YOUR COLOR (B, W): 

You can choose either B (the 'black' or darker pieces) or W (the 
'white' or lighter pieces), SARGON will choose the other. Remem- 
ber that white always moves first. 

3. SARGON next asks: 

LEVEL OF PLAY (C-6): 

Press the number indicating the level of play you desire. Each 
higher level increases SARGON's computation time and playing 
skill. As pieces are exchanged and the amount of material on the 
board diminishes, SARGON does NOT take dramatically less time 
to make a move. Instead the look ahead increases automatically. 



3 



Average time per move at each level is listed below. The actual 
time for a given move may range from about Vb to 3 times the times 
given: 

AVERAGE TIME 
BETWEEN MOVES 






Immediate Response 


1 


20 seconds 


2 


1 minute 


3 


2 minutes 


4 


6 minutes 


5 


40 minutes 


6 


4 hours 



SCREEN DISPLAY 

The screen is made up of 3 distinct parts. The upper left part of the 
screen is the actual CHESS BOARD with the rank and file 
displayed on the border surrounding it. (See fig. #1) Directly to the 
right of the chess board is the MOVE WIN DOW, where your moves 
are entered and the last five moves are displayed in standard 
algebraic chess notation. The bottom of the screen is reserved for 
messages from SARGON, like the level of play, whose turn it is, 
and the ''ply" level. When SARGON is "thinking" about its next 
move the Commodore logo will turn red. SARGON will show what 
move it is currently thinking about making at the bottom of the 
move window. SARGON will also keep you informed about the 
number of moves it is currently looking ahead'. This is called the 
"PLY" NUMBER, and is displayed in the bottom right corner of the 
screen. So you don't think SARGON has gone to lunch it will blink 
an asterisk next to the game level number. On some of the upper 
play levels, this is a real help. 



MOVING PIECES USING JOYSTICK 

It's easy moving pieces with SARGON IL As with most Commodore 
games, you have your choice of using a joystick, or the VIC's 
keyboard. 

With the joystick move the cursor over the piece that you wish to 
move, then push the button on the joystick. Now move the cursor 
over the position you wish to move the piece 'to' and again push 
the button. You have now completed your move and SARGON will 
display your move as if you typed it from the keyboard. 

Moving the cursor on top of a piece and pushing the joystick 
button is the same as "picking up" a chess piece. Pressing the 
button the second time is the same as "setting down" the chess 
piece. 

Hint — until you get the hang of it, you may find that you push the 
button too soon, which gives you an"INVALID MOVE MESSAGE". 
Make sure you first move the flashing cursor to'the piece you want 
to move and then press the button to "PICK IT UP." 

MOVING PIECES USING THE KEYBOARD 

Moves must be entered in algebraic chess notation. This means 
you must tell SARGON the file and rank coordinates of the 
squares you are moving from and to. The files are lettered A-H 
and the ranks are numbered 1-8. The coordinates of the board 
are displayed on the border around the board. See figure 1 . 

FILE RANK— FILE RANK 



Moves are entered in the form FILE RANK— FILE RANK where 

the first FILE RANK is the file and rank of the 'from' location and 
the second FILE RANK corresponds to the 'to' position. For 



< 

DC 



8 
7 
6 
5 
4 
3 
2 
1 



e 



FILE 
D E 



H 



A8 


B8 


C8 


D8 


E8 


F8 


G8 


H8 


A7 


B7 


C7 


D7 


E7 


F7 


G7 


H7 


A6 


B6 


C6 


D6 


E6 


F6 


G6 


H6 


A5 


B5 


C5 


D5 


E5 


F5 


G5 


H5 


A4 


B4 


C4 


D4 


E4 


F4 


G4 


H4 


A3 


B3 


C3 


D3 


E3 


F3 


G3 


H3 


A2 


B2 


C2 


D2 


E2 


F2 


G2 


H2 


A1 


B1 


C1 


D1 


E1 


F1 


G1 


H1 



B 



H 



8 

7 
6 
5 
4 

3 
2 
1 



33 
> 

Z 



! D E F ( 
FILE 
Figure 1. Board Coordinates 

example, to play the king's pawn up two squares you would type: 
E2-E4 (and hit the return key) 

(Actually you can use anything in place of the "—".) When 
SARGON responds with the corresponding move, it will display 
it's own move below yours in the "Move Window". For example, if 
you move E2-E4 SARGON Might display: 

E7-E5 

If you make an error before hitting RETURN, press the DELete 
key to erase the error and then retype the move. If you type an 
illegal move (like moving a pawn sideways) SARGON WILL BEEP 
AT YOU AND PRINT "INVALID MOVE" on the bottom border, hit 
DELete to restore the bottom border, then retype your move. If 
you keep getting "INVALID MOVE" check your chess book for 
proper moves of each piece, or scan the board carefully to make 



sure you aren't in "check." Another common mistake is trying to 
castle when in check, or castle "through" a check square, 
resulting in an INVALID MOVE. 



SPECIAL MOVES 



To Castle: 

If using the keyboard, just type the king's move and hit RETURN. 
The rook will tag along. For example, if you are white and you wish 
to castle king's side, type: 

E1-G1 (return) 

You will see both your king and rook move. SARGON lists it as 0-0 
or 0-0-0 as in normal chess notation. The joystick move is also 
automatic. 

To Capture En Passant: 

If you wish to capture one of SARGON's pawns using the En 
Passant privilege, enter your pawn's move. After your pawn move 
is displayed, SARGON's pawn will blink than vanish. When 
SARGON captures En Passant, his move is displayed in the same 
way. The move is listed as PXPEP. 



WHAT THE SOUND EFFECTS MEAN 

SARGON II will beep to tell you it has finished thinking and is 
moving. It will also beep to signal you if your move is illegal. To see 
the letters after an illegal move press the delete key once. It will 



not audibly signal a CHECK, although it will say "CHECK" at the 
bottom of the border of the chessboard. It will beep rapidly several 
times in succession to signal a CHECKMATE by either side. 



HINT MODE FOR BEGINNERS — 
SARGON "KIBITZ" 

A hint to the player giving what the computer thinks is his best 
move is available for most non-book moves. (Ah, but will SARGON 
II give you a move it doesn't have to answer for?) To get the 
computer to look over your shoulder in this fashion, press the 
question mark (?) key and SARGON will display the move for you 
in the entry portion of the scroll window. 

Note: "Kibitz" was not designed to work at level 0. Although you 
may occasionally get it to work at that level, the moves it advises 
may not even be legal. Remember the castle move is displayed 
differently from the way it is entered. Also, Kibitz may not work 
until you have proceeded far enough into the game so SARGON is 
looking ahead. 



LEVEL* and PLY #: 

When the board is displayed, the Level # you have selected is 
labeled and displayed in the upper right-hand portion of the 
screen. Once SARGON II gets beyond its opening 'book 7 moves 
you will also see the Ply # (unlabeled) displayed to the right of the 
level #. 

ThePly # is the number of half moves ahead of the current move 
that the computer is currently searching. A Ply of 3, for instance, 
indicates that the computer has already examined its possible 



moves and your possible countermoves, and is currently examin- 
ing its possible replies to your countermoves. The Level # you 
choose at the beginning of the game, or after changing the board 
represents the MINIMUM Ply to which the computer will search. 
(In the beginning and toward the end of the game, SARGON II will 
automatically search more deeply.) 

The exception to all this is Level where the computer will only 
examine its next move at any stage of the game except where a 
check is involved. 

The blinking asterisk beside the Ply # is just to assure you that 
SARGON II is in fact thinking, not asleep. 



TO END A GAME OR TAKE BACK A MOVE 

Wait until it is your turn. Then press the STOP & RESTORE keys 
at the same time. SARGON will display the title page. To end the 
game and leave SARGON, simply turn off your VIC. To change the 
board proceed to the following section. 



IF YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO CHANGE THE 
BOARD (SETUP) 

You can take back a move, or set up the board to play from any 
point in a game. If you're beginning a game and want to set up a 
special situation, press the S key when SARGON asks if you want 
a "GAME OR SETUP:" If you're in the middle of a game, hold down 
the RUN/STOP key and hit RESTORE then type F1 and S. If you 
were already in the middle of a gamethe board will be displayed 
just as you left it. The lower left-hand corner will blink. That's your 
signal that you can change the contents of that square, using one 
of the analysis commands as follows: 



You may move to other squares on the board by using the cursor 
keys. These keys will ieave the contents of the square unchanged 
and blink the square into which you have moved. 

To place a piece on a square type in the piece code followed 
immediately by the color code and the code indicating whether 
the piece has been moved. The piece code is a letter indicating 
the desired piece. 

K — King B — Bishop 

Q— Queen N— Knight 

R — Rook P — Pawn 

The color code is a letter indicating the side the piece belongs to: 

W— White B— Black 

The last code tells the computer whether the piece has been 
moved: 

O— Not Moved 1 — Moved 



Telling the computer whether a piece has moved ensures legal 
castling and pawn moves, and tells SARGON II for evaluation 
purposes whether the piece has ever been developed. 

Examples: 

To place a black pawn on its original square type: 

PBO 
A white knight in the middle of the board would be: 

NW1 



10 



A black king on its original square which has, however, moved: 

KB1 

When you have finished changing the board type RETURN to exit 
the board. 

SARGON II will then ask: 

COLOR TO MOVE NEXT (B, W): 

Just type the appropriate letter. 

The next question will be: 

MOVE NUMBER (NN): 

Try here to enter the move number appropriate to the state of the 
game you are setting up. This number is taken into account by 
SARGON 1 1 in choosing a strategy which corresponds to the stage 
of development of the game. 

Next comes: 

YOUR COLOR (B, W): 

Again type the appropriate letter. 
Finally: 

LEVEL OF PLAY (0-6): 

When you have typed the appropriate number the game will 
automatically proceed from the point you designated. 

We wish you many thoughtful hours of good chess. 



11 



TEACH YOURSELF CHESS 



YOUR FIRST GAME OF CHESS 

Using this chess cartridge and a few simple instructions, you can 
actually teach yourself to play chess! The computer will help you, 
mostly by trial and error, to understand the game... but before you 
begin you need to understand a few basic concepts. 

Here are the most important hints you need to knowaboutChess 
before you learn the game: 

OBJECT OF THE GAME 

The main objective of the game is to checkmate (capture) your 
opponent's king before he captures yours. Whoever "checkmates" 
the other's king first wins the game. CHECKMATE simply means, 
backing the enemy king into a corner so he cannot prevent you 
from capturing him. 

CAPTURING YOUR OPPONENTS PLAYERS 
— While maneuvering 

While maneuvering to checkmate the enemy's king, it will help if 
you can eliminate (by capturing) the enemy's most powerful 
pieces. To "capture" an enemy chess piece, all you have to do is 
move one of your players to the same square as the enemy piece. 
The enemy captures your piece the same way. The piece that's 
moving occupies the square. The piece that was tjiere before gets 
taken off the board. 



12 



EACH CHESS PIECE HAS UNIQUE 
MOVEMENTS 

Every piece can only make certain types of movements on the 
chess board. These movements determine how you use your 
pieces during the game . . . generally, to attack the enemy or 
defend your own pieces. 



EACH CHESS PIECE HAS A "RANK" OF 
POWER OR IMPORTANCE 

Obviously, your king is the most important piece and must be 
defended at all costs. But all the other players have "rank" as well. 
Your queen, for example, is the most important player in your 
"army." The ranking is important because in general, a piece may 
sacrifice itself to capture a higher ranking piece. For example, if a 
bishop can capture a queen -- but will himself be captured on the 
next move -- he will almost always make the sacrifice because the 
queen is the more important chesspiece. 

These, then, are the basic concepts of chess. A bit oversimplified, 
perhaps, but enough to get you started. 



HOW THE PIECES MOVE » A BEGINNER'S 

REFERENCE GUIDE 

Here is a brief introduction to the different pieces, with RU LES OF 
MOVEMENT and other comments shown in this easy to use 
reference guide -- NOTE THAT THE PIECES ARE LISTED IN 
ORDER OF THEIR IMPORTANCE AND RANK/POWER. 



13 




CHESS PIECE MOVEMENT RULES 

KING The king can move 1 space at a time in 

any direction. The king can also CAPTURE 
other pieces... BUT... Ifan enemy piece 
moves into a position where it can 
CAPTURE your king on the NEXT MOVE 
your king is IN CHECK. When you're in 
CHECKyou cannot move any other piece 
untilyou remedy theCHECKsituation. IF 
IN CHECK, you only have 3 options: 
move the king, move a piece between the 
attacker and the king, or capture the 
attacking piece. When you cannot do any 
of these 3 things, your situation is hope- 
less and you are CHECKMATED. It is a 
good practice to try not to move the king 
early in the game in case you want to 
CASTLE later on. Once you move the 
king you cannot castle. CHECKMATE 
means one player will CAPTURE the king 
on the next move and the king cannot 
prevent it. 



QUEEN The queen starts next to the king, and 

can move in any direction, as many spaces 
as you want. The queen can move front- 
ward, sideways, diagonally and back- 
wards, but can not jump over or go around 
other pieces which may block her way. 
As the most powerful piece on the board 
you should try not to lose your queen. 
Keep in mind that all the other pieces 
except the king are LESS important than 
the queen. 



14 




CHESS PIECE 
(Con't.) 



MOVEMENT RULES (Con't.) 



CASTLE 
or ROOK 




The Castle sits on the ends of the first 
row. It only moves in a straight line 
forward or sideways (N EVER diagonally). 
One way to protect your king is to CASTLE 
. .if you HAVEN'T MOVED either your king or 
castle and there are NO other pieces 
between them, you can move your king 
next to the castle and the castle will 
automatically JUMP OVER the king. This 
is called CASTLING and is one way to 
quickly move your king to safety. NOTE 
YOUCANTCASTLE'IFYOURKINGISIN 
"CHECK" (THREATENED) BY AN 
ENEMY PIECE. 



if 



















































S3 






H 











!\ n 



KNIGHT 



The knight (or "horse") moves 3 SPACES 
ATA TIME, always in an "L" shape. Ima- 
gine the knight at the TOP or BOTTOM of 
the L, and the L can be backward or front- 



15 



KNIGHT (Con't.) 



MOVEMENT RULES (Con't.) 




ward. Just count 3 spaces ... 2 ahead and 
1 sideways, or 1 ahead and 2 sideways. 
The knight is the only piece that can 
JUMP OVER OTHER CHESS PIECES. 
You can jump over your own pieces or 
jump over the enemy's. To CAPTURE a 
piece simply move 3 spaces in an L- 
shape and land on top of the enemy 
piece you want to capture. 











^ 


e T^ 


V 




4- 




-* 




(--- 


L ^v 


-H 




*-•- 


-f- 


. -y 




s 


► -U 


4- 


















{ t 1 



BISHOP 




Bishops move diagonally, frontward or 
backward, as many spaces as you want 
as long as you don't bump into another 
piece. Notice you have a white bishop 
which will always move diagonally on the 
white squares and a black bishop who 
always moves on the black squares. 



16 



CHESS PIECE 
(Con't.) 

BISHOP (Con't.) 



MOVEMENT RULES (Con't.) 

































? 














/ 














/ 














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/ 




\ 










/ 








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PAWN 




The pawn moves 1 space at a time, 
forward only. It cannot move sideways or 
backwards.ONTHEFIRSTMOVEONLY, 
the pawn can move either 1 OR 2 spaces 
and then 1 space at a time after the 1 st 
move. To CAPTURE another piece, the 
pawn must move one square DIAGON- 
ALLY. The pawn can only move diagonally 
to capture a piece, and cannot capture a 
piece by moving straight ahead. A pawn 
generally "controls" or threatens the two 
diagonal spaces directly in front of it. 





























































/ 


\ 












f 




7* 





































17 



There are, of course, several special moves like "en passant" 
which are'covered elsewhere, but these comments should give 
you enough of a reference to begin playing. 

YOUR FIRST GAME . . . LEARN BY DOING 

LET'S HAVE A GAME OF CHESS! What? You haven't played 
before? Well, relax. Here's a good series of opening moves which 
will give you a general idea of how to play the game. These moves 
involve some good habits ... for example: 

-- controlling the "center" of the chessboard generally gives you 

an advantage. 
-- moving pawns and knights out first is a good opening strategy. 

- clearing a space between the king and the castle allows you to 
"CASTLE" to protect the king. 

HERE ARE T HE MOVES YOU SHOULD MAKE 
IN ORDER (Use Either Joystick or Keyboard) 

1. Insert cartridge and turn on VIC. 

2. Push f1. 

3. Press G. 

4. Press W. 

5. Press (Zero). 

6. D2-D4 (RETURN) - Queen's Pawn. 

7. G1-F3 (RETURN) - King's Knight. 

8. F3-E5(RETURN)- Knight to Center. 

9. B8-C3 (RETURN) - Queen's Knight. 

1 0. E2-E3 (RETURN) - King's Pawn. 

11. F1-D3 (RETURN) - King's Bishop. 

12. E1-G1 (RETURN) - Castling. 

13. G2-G3 (RETURN) - Pawn. 

14. H2-H4 (RETURN)- Pawn. 

15. YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN! 



18 



From here out, you're on your own . . . sorry . . . you'll have to 
complete your first game by yourself. Just remember your 3 
alternatives if you find yourself in check. (The computer will tell 
you if you're in CHECK):Move your king to safety. . . move another 
piece between the attacker and your king ... or capture the 
attacking piece. Another hint: don't let an enemy knight get too 
close to your lines or he'll put your king in check and threaten your 
castle at the sametime and you'll lose your castle. 

One more thing... don't get discouraged... you really can beat the 
computer if you keep at it. Many beginners have beat the 
computer on Level within a week or two after they play their first 
game, depending on how much they practice. If you get really bold 
and want to play at Level 1, there's a special HINT feature built 
into SARGON which will suggest a GOOD MOVE (not necessarily 
the BEST) . . . just enter 1 when the VIC asks what level to' play at, 
and type a QUESTION MARK (?) if you want a hint from the 
computer. This should help you get a faster idea of how the game 
is played. 

Last but not least . . . GOOD LUCK! 



ft commodore 

v COMPUTER 



^ commodore